In preparation for the upcoming 2016 Florida legislative session, Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce (FBCW) named GOP consultant Patrick Slevin as its new campaign manager.
Slevin will help lead the bipartisan coalition to pass the Competitive Workforce Act, which seeks to modernize state law to include anti-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
During the 2015 session, state Rep. Holly Raschein, a Key Largo Republican, and Democratic state Sen. Joe Abruzzo from Boynton Beach filed the legislation, as House Bill 45 and Senate Bill 120.
“It is my privilege to lead such a diverse coalition focused on pro-business and pro-economic growth legislation,” Slevin said in a statement. “The Florida Competitive Workforce Act is good public policy and reflects fundamental Republican values of fairness, freedom and opportunity. I’m proud to stand with some of our largest job creators who understand that this is the right thing to do and an economic imperative as well if we are to compete.”
In 32 Florida counties and municipalities, it is illegal to discriminate in employment, housing and public accommodations based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or marital status. However, 55 percent of Florida residents, including many in the gay and transgender community, do not have statewide protections.
Thirty-four major employers statewide, as well as 400 local businesses, have united to form the Coalition, under the belief that Florida’s economic health relies on attracting and retaining the best workers with an assurance of equal opportunity employment.
Coalition members include Fortune 500 companies CSX, Darden Restaurants, Marriott, NextEra Energy, Office Depot, Tech Data, Walt Disney World Resort and Wells Fargo have joined, with more than onboard.
Patrick Slevin, founder of SL7 Communications, will join the Southern Strategy Group for the Coalition’s lobbying efforts, as well as Deborah Tannenbaum of Tannenbaum Solutions as fundraising consultant. Christina Johnson of On 3 Public Relations will continue to serve as communications lead.